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Though Thomas Edison is recognized as the inventor of the light bulb, African-American inventor Lewis Latimer played an important role in its development. In 1881, Latimer patented a method for making carbon filaments, allowing light bulbs to burn for hours instead of minutes. Latimer also drafted the drawings that helped Alexander Graham Bell receive a patent for the telephone.


Great photo of Lewis Latimer (1848–1928) invented an important part of the light bulb — the carbon filament. Worked for Edison.


Lewis Latimer invented a “water closet for railroad cars” (1873) and drafted the patent drawings for Alexander Graham Bell's first telephone. In 1881 he devised a method for making a carbon filament for a light bulb made by one of Thomas Edison's competitors, and then supervised that firm's installation of electric lights in New York City, Philadelphia, Montreal, and London.